[Wikimedia-l] Wikipedia redefined -- typography and UX and such

Amir E. Aharoni amir.aharoni at mail.huji.ac.il
Wed Aug 8 08:06:15 UTC 2012

2012/8/8 Michel Vuijlsteke <wikipedia at zog.org>
> Well, it's certainly a possible starting point for discussion:
> http://www.wikipediaredefined.com/

* It's so-so for a mid-term design school project: It shows that they
can draw mock-ups, but I doubt that they would get high grades for
typography, logo design, and understanding the client's needs.
* It's not so useful as design ideas for the actual Wikipedia, except
some proposed reader-centric features.

Now, the longer version.

The beginning is just horrible:

* They picked a font in which the capital I looks like a J. The fact
that the capital J there is longer doesn't help at all. It's not an
original typographic solution. It's just weird, ugly and hard to read.
It may be useful somewhere, but not here.
* They want to redesign the Wikipedia logo, but they start from the
one that was retired two years ago. So yes, the ideas are the same,
but they should still do their homework properly.
* They want to kill all the scripts except Latin from the logo. On the
main page they want to make the big languages even bigger on the main
page and to make small languages even smaller. Imperialism FTW.
* They create logos for sister projects from their English names and
once more disregard the notion that there are other languages in the
world. And that it's rarely a good idea to design logos from letters
without a good reason to begin with.

Somewhat better ideas begin in the middle. What they call "history" is
completely different from what editors call "history". They should
have called it "reading list" or "what I read" or something. It
requires an account, which is not so relevant to most people in the
current setup. That said, their idea of history can be useful. If
nothing else, it's a good reminder that MediaWiki's technical
innovations are mostly aimed at the editors (1%) and not the readers
(99%). The "Quote" button that they propose is not a bad idea either.

Then they get to editing. Basically, they don't propose anything very
different from what the Visual Editor is going to be. In fact, the
current testing version of the Visual Editor is already quite close to
that. And they use "history" again, with a different meaning,
disregarding the very basic design principle that different things
should have different names. (Come to think of it, using "history" the
way we use it today is not a great idea either. It's easy to confuse
it with the subject of History. In the Hebrew Wikipedia the "View
history" tab is called "Previous versions", which makes a lot more

Towards the end they discuss the "portal of Wikipedia", by which they
actually mean the Main Page of the English Wikipedia, and disregard
yet again that there are other languages.

So OK, it brings up a few areas where we can improve, but the solution
as they propose it is not viable. I'm not sure that they meant it to

Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬

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